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YouTube awards cash, schooling to budding videographers

May 1, 2011 |  9:01 pm

Zach King Thumbnail
Even as Google Inc.'s YouTube works to secure newly released Hollywood films for users to rent, the dominant online video site is cultivating a promising crop of amateur videographers through funding and professional training.

YouTube identified 45 users, among thousands of entrants, to participate in a pair of programs designed to support original content creation. YouTube says some 35 hours of video are uploaded every minute, driving billions of views every year. To keep YouTube as a launching pad for new talent, it has begun this program of funding, education and promotions.

Twenty people were selected to participate in YouTube Creator Institute, where they will gain new-media training at either the USC School of Cinematic Arts or Columbia College Chicago. Another development program, YouTube NextUp, awarded $35,000 each to 25 creators to help advance their work on YouTube.

Zach King, a 21-year-old film student at Biola University, said he would use the cash he received from the NextUp program to develop a series of short films that focus on storytelling. His award-winning submission, "Contest Entry Gone Wrong,"  relies on special effects -- he appears to dodge an assault by airstrikes and groundfire as he calmly pleads his case to be selected for the YouTube award.

"I started my channel two years ago, FinalCutKing, I started posting video tutorials," King said. "I recently turned to posting cool videos, doing digital effects."

One video in particular, in which King seems to be demonstrating a fictional "hologram setting" on his new Apple iPad 2, attracted notice. "That's why we decided to enter a special-effects video on YouTube," he said of the video shot with his friend, Aaron Benitez. "It was different."

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: Zach King from his video, "Contest Entry Gone Wrong."